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Explore: Tour offers view of Victoria's arts pedigree

Celebrate arts and artists in Victoria at the Integrate Arts Festival, which runs Friday to Sunday. This is the ninth year of the annual event, formerly known as the Off the Grid Arts Festival.
Litsa Koulelis prepares souvlakis and donairs for the crowds at last yearÕs Greek Fest. The annual event, running this weekend and next, draws more than 30,000 people. It is held in front of Saanich Commonwealth Recreation Centre on Elk Lake Drive.

Celebrate arts and artists in Victoria at the Integrate Arts Festival, which runs Friday to Sunday.

This is the ninth year of the annual event, formerly known as the Off the Grid Arts Festival.

The festival, which showcases the works of more than 50 artists, takes place in more than 25 locations. It is a unique opportunity for art lovers to experience the city’s diverse and thriving art landscape.

“We are so lucky to have such a strong showing of artists in the city,” said Jennifer Paquet, director of the Integrate Art Society, which hosts the annual show.

“But just as important, we have a community that supports its artists just as strongly.”

Maps guide visitors to exhibitions and events at participating galleries, studios and other sites throughout the city.

You can take your car, use public transit or take a guided tour aboard a hop on/hop off bus on Saturday evening to go to different venues (stops are marked on the map and with signs on the street).

The event features a family-friendly bike tour on Sunday afternoon to different sites on the festival route. Participants on the tour can view a collaborative fibre art project in Market Square (from noon to 4 p.m.)

The art on show includes paintings, sculpture, textiles, mixed media, photographs and light.

All participating galleries, parties, events and performances are free during the art crawl on Saturday. Some public galleries will revert to admission fees, or by donation, on Sunday.

This year’s events include:

• An opening reception takes place between 7 and 10 p.m. on Friday at

Unit 228C of the Bay Centre, 1150 Douglas St. (Fort Street street-level entrance beside the fountain);

• The en-masse Art Crawl bus tour runs 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday from the Robert Bateman Centre, 470 Belleville St. with stops at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, MediaNet’s Flux Media Art Gallery and Limbic Media. The bus holds about 50 passengers;

• An after-hours party runs 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Copper Owl, 1900 Douglas St;

• A bicycle tour runs noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The tour stops at Market Square at 1:30 p.m. for participants to take time there. There will be demonstrations and music by local artists and the Victoria Flea Market.

Other activities and events are listed on


Colwood holds a beach party

The City of Colwood is throwing a beach party, complete with hot food trucks and cool summer tunes on Friday.

Eats and Beats at the Beach has all the ingredients of a fun time, with L’Authentique Poutine and Burger, FreshCoast, Grilled to the Mac and the Gelato Bar so far confirmed to provide food.

Musicians Karly Summers, Marcus Eaton, Fat Cat and Emmett O’Sullivan are scheduled to entertain with smooth summer beats.

The event is free. It runs 4 to 8 p.m. at the Colwood waterfront (Ocean Boulevard at Millburn Road).

For more information, go to or Facebook.


See herbs get used in lotions

Learn about the growing, cultivating and harvesting of herbs to develop for lotions at Explore the Art of Herbs, an Économusée workshop at the Hazelwood Herb Farm, on Saturday.

Économusée is a non-profit society that supports small-scale artisans who focus on traditional skills to create food and authentic handcrafted products.

The owners of Hazelwood Herb Farm in Ladysmith will offer two interactive, hands-on workshops, focusing on the application of herbs and the creation of lotions, and a guided tour of the farms’ gardens.

The event is one of four B.C.-based workshops, three of which are on Vancouver Island.

Admission is $15 for the lotion-making workshop, 10:30 a.m. to noon, and $15 for the garden tour,

2 to 4 p.m. at Hazelwood Herb Farm, 13576 Adshead Rd., Ladysmith. For more information, go to or


Greek Fest has mouth-watering lineup

Victorians will be enjoying Greek food and entertainment — and shouting Opa! — starting Friday as Greek Fest returns over the next two weekends.

Now in its 13th year, the festival attracts more than 30,000 people coming for food and performances by more than 25 groups from different cultural backgrounds. Two groups have travelled from Greece to perform at the festival.

You can enjoy authentic Greek food, such as arni psito (lamb on the split), souvlaki, gyros or a vegetarian plate that includes spanakopita and tzatziki. Desserts include baklava, loukoumades, kourambiedes and koulouria.

Apart from sampling traditional Greek fare, visitors to the festival will be treated to an impressive lineup of live music, including the Gypsy Rovers, Aantanara Drum and Dance, White Eagle Band and Blue Balkans.

What’s a Greek party without dance? Take Greek dance lessons or watch performances by the Elkelam Dance Group (from Athens), the Kariatis Folklore Dancers, Zefyos Hellenic Dance Society or Zumba.

While everyone is enjoying themselves, they are also helping feed some of Victoria’s neediest children at school. The Greek Community Society, which hosts the event, is partnering with the Saanich Fire Department to fund a hot lunch program. Partial proceeds from all food sales will go to the program and the Canadian Cancer Society.

“This is a great cause,” said Tim Petropoulos, treasurer of the society. “When our community learned just how many students go to school without a proper breakfast or lunch, we were shocked. As a board, we really felt we needed to act and offer some much-needed help.”

Over the years, proceeds from the event have supported more than a dozen charities that serve children, families and communities.

Admission to festival and all entertainment is free. The festival runs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday and the same time Sept. 4 to 7 at 4648 Elk Lake Dr. (in front of the Saanich Commonwealth Recreation Centre). For more information, go to


Enjoy a taste of the hot stuff

Get out the fire extinguishers — the Rotary Club of West Shore is holding its 11th Annual Chili Cook Off on Saturday.

The fun family event features more than 15 local organizations and corporate teams preparing fiery concoctions to be rated by judges and the public.

Teams will prepare at least five gallons of chili, with visitors paying $7 for a voting card.

The card allows you to sample the chili from each team and vote for your favourite in the People’s Choice Award.

In the Best Judged Chili category, judges perform a blind tasting of the various chili offerings and rate them on aroma, consistency, colour, taste and aftertaste.

Teams are also rated on the fun things, such as booth decorations, costumes, showmanship with the patrons, presentation of the chili — and bribes (in an official bribe envelope, no less).

Teams also vie for the coveted Best Showmanship award, with participants encouraged to decorate their tent, dress up and put on a show for the community.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the New Hope Schools Society in Uganda and Westshore RCMP’s new community van.

The event is free to attend. It runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Millstream Village Shopping Centre, 2401 Millstream Rd., Langford.

For more information, go to


Kids unveil their creations for lantern procession 

The Salish Sea Children’s Lantern Procession will light up Saturday night.

Throughout August, children and their families have been busy creating cup lanterns and light bags in the Easel Art Program, hosted by the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula.

The children will unveil their creations, led by a giant lantern fish, in a procession on Saturday. Dressing up is encouraged.

This is a free public event with everyone invited to cheer the children in the procession. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. from the

B.C. Fishing Pier in Sidney. Free LED lights will be available for participants (no lit candles allowed).

For more information, go to

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